literature

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Beyonce Has a Surprise for 4 'Bold' College Students

Singer offering scholarships for 4 different colleges to celebrate 'Lemonade' anniversary

(Newser) - Beyonce has apparently taken her message of feminist empowerment to heart, and she's putting her money where her melodious mouth is, per Pitchfork . To mark the first anniversary of her Lemonade album, the singer is offering four "Formation Scholars" scholarships for young black women for the 2017-2018 school... More »

Out of Castro's Revolution, the 'Boom' Was Born

Fidel's success inspired Garcia Marquez, a generation of influential writers

(Newser) - When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959, the reverberations of his revolution caused a somewhat unlikely consequence: An explosion of literature never before seen in Latin America, and only rarely seen elsewhere, of such quantity and quality that it was labeled "the boom." “It’s... More »

Author's 'Ballet Dancer' Genitals Earn Bad Sex in Fiction Prize

Congrats, we guess, to Italian writer Erri De Luca

(Newser) - Italian writer Erri De Luca had already won the 2013 European Prize for Literature and been hailed as "the writer of the decade," so what else was left to accomplish but win the 2016 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. De Luca took home the 24th annual prize for... More »

Pop Culture's Weirdest 'Cover-Ups'

Vulture compiles 70 biggest celebrity conspiracy theories—including that Katy Perry is JonBenet Ramsey

(Newser) - Take a timeout from Election 2016 conspiracy theories and do a deep dive instead into tinfoil-hat whispers on the pop culture front. Vulture has spent the past few months performing what it calls an "exhaustive cataloguing" of the biggest cover-ups in music, literature, film, TV, and "anything else... More »

Modern Literary Mystery May Be Solved

Italian journalist thinks he knows who the real Elena Ferrante is

(Newser) - It's what the New York Times calls "one of the most intriguing literary mysteries in recent history." But now Elena Ferrante, author of several best-selling novels who has lived under that pseudonym since the early 1990s, appears to have been unmasked by Italian journalist Claudio Gatti. In... More »

Why Art Should Hit You Over the Head

Subtlety isn't all it's cracked up to be, writes Forrest Wickman

(Newser) - Forrest Wickman isn't a fan of subtlety in art, though he's probably in the minority. Today we tend to use phrases like "hits you over the head" or "lacks subtlety" as criticisms—a trend that came with the rise of highbrow and lowbrow cultural hierarchies in... More »

Writer Who Captured Chernobyl Disaster Wins Nobel

Svetlana Alexievich is known for journalistic style, eyewitness accounts

(Newser) - A Belarus writer known for what Swedish Academy judges called "her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," won the Nobel Prize for Literature Thursday, the Guardian reports. Svetlana Alexievich, 67, has made her name by instilling a journalistic style heavy on eyewitness accounts... More »

Linguist Claims He's Solved Gulliver's Travels Riddle

Irving Rothman says he's solved the centuries-old mystery

(Newser) - Long have scholars debated the origins of the "nonsense" language in Jonathan Swift's most famous novel, Gulliver's Travels, though Isaac Asimov once said making sense of it is a "waste of time" because "I suspect that Swift simply made up nonsense for the purpose."... More »

Meet the Guys Google Pays to Write Poetry

The Haiku Guys get hundreds of dollars per hour to write personalized poems

(Newser) - Waxing lyrical might not seem like to best route to riches, but it turns out poetry is still pretty popular—and "the Haiku Guys" have been able to turn that appeal into cash, Fast Company reports. What they offer is, essentially, a custom poem-writing service. As the guys' site... More »

Harper Lee's Lawyer: She's 'Humiliated' by Controversy

Assisted-living worker says author is 'sharp as a tack'

(Newser) - As debate swirls over how much input Harper Lee had in a decision to publish a second novel, her lawyer and friend Tonja Carter—who found the text last summer—says the author is certainly capable of making the choice. In fact, Lee is "extremely hurt and humiliated" by... More »

Scientists 'Read' Words on Ancient, Burnt Scrolls

X-ray technology could lead to great literary finds

(Newser) - It's been centuries since a certain set of ancient scrolls was discovered in 1752, but their words have largely remained a secret. The 300-some rolled-up pieces of papyrus were in Herculaneum, a town pummeled by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The scrolls were left in a... More »

Homer Wasn't 'a Person': Historian

Iliad , Odyssey were works of a culture, not a man: Adam Nicolson

(Newser) - When we think of The Iliad and The Odyssey, we shouldn't give credit to a single man, says a historian: "It's a mistake to think of Homer as a person," historian Adam Nicolson tells National Geographic . "Homer is an 'it.' A tradition. An... More »

Discovered: How Oscar Wilde's Wife Died

Constance Wilde's early passing may have been tied to misguided surgery

(Newser) - The cause of Constance Wilde's death at age 40 has long been a mystery, but now, 116 years later, it appears to have been solved. Family letters unveiled by Oscar Wilde's grandson suggest that the writer's wife died within days of a gynecological operation gone wrong, the... More »

How a Christmas Gift Changed Harper Lee's Life

And those of generations of readers

(Newser) - If it hadn't been for a New York City couple, the world might never have seen To Kill a Mockingbird. Its author, Harper Lee, was a ticket agent for British Overseas Airways in 1956, and it was difficult for her to find time to write with a separate full-time... More »

Literary 'Queen of Crime' PD James Dies at 94

Her sales have surpassed 10M in the US

(Newser) - PD James, a mystery writer whose books have flown off the shelves, has died at age 94, the New York Times reports. James, who earned the nickname "The Queen of Crime" for her novels, several of which were made into TV shows and movies, died peacefully at home in... More »

New Harry Potter Story Coming on Halloween

Tale of scary Professor Umbridge to be published online

(Newser) - A new Harry Potter story is on its way. JK Rowling has announced the story's debut on Potter website Pottermore.com , the New York Daily News reports. Appropriately for Halloween, the story will deal with the frightening Professor Umbridge, whom Rowling notes is "not only one of the... More »

Harry Potter Casts Spell on Millennials' Political Views

Readers show 'greater support for equality': Anthony Gierzynski

(Newser) - JK Rowling's boy wizard hasn't just entertained millennials—he's worked his magic on their political views as well, writes a political science professor who's studied the subject. After surveying university students, Anthony Gierzynski found that "reading the books correlated with greater levels of acceptance for... More »

Rotting Boat To Become Luxury Literary Tourist Attraction

Owner set to move it to Salinas; captain's nephew opposes plan

(Newser) - For eight months, John Steinbeck's fishing boat has been moldering in Port Townsend, Washington. Now it's likely headed for a new home—but there's some controversy about where that will be, the New York Times reports. The Western Flyer, which Steinbeck chartered in 1940, set the stage... More »

Tolkien's 'New' Labor of Love: Beowulf

'Lost' Beowulf translation published almost 90 years later

(Newser) - In 1926, an Oxford University professor named JRR Tolkien finished a translation of Beowulf—in his words, the "greatest of the surviving works of ancient English poetic art." Tolkien called the 11th-century work "sombre, tragic, sinister," and "curiously real," the Guardian notes. Elements of... More »

Lost Story by Tennessee Williams Published

It's about an old college flame

(Newser) - Fans of Tennessee Williams have a new piece of fiction to savor, reports the BBC . A US literary journal called the Strand has published a long-lost short story from the author of A Streetcar Named Desire called Crazy Night. It features a student named Anna Jean, an apparent reference to... More »

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